Employers often complain that young people don’t come prepared to an interview and haven’t done their research on them. The best research is to have a face-to-face conversation with people in jobs, careers, industries and sectors where you would love to work.

The idea of approaching an employer to find out more about them and what they do can be daunting if you are a young person, especially if you are lacking in confidence. One of the reasons for doing it can simply be to build your confidence. Here are some other reasons:

Why research an employer?

  • Help with your decision-making on job and career direction
  • Build your knowledge and insight to inform job applications and interviews
  • Practise your communication and engagement skills
  • Grow your network
  • Develop meaningful individual relationships
  • Get noticed positively so they think of you when opportunities arise

Who do you know? Who do they know? Who knows you? Who would you like to know?

7 ways to get in front of employers

job interview

  1. Ask your friends and family friends in jobs who can refer you directly to someone in their business.
  2. Ask for a warm introduction from current or past managers/colleagues in any full-time or part-time jobs, internships, work placements and volunteering roles you have held.
  3. Ask your college or university professors, tutors and lecturers.
  4. Identify a manageable number of people in jobs and organisations you want to research taking account of practicalities like location and travel costs.
  5. Find them online through LinkedIn profiles using the search function. Engage with them in topic discussions via groups they belong to. Here’s how to connect with them. Don’t use the default invitation. Be polite, no spelling errors or text speak. Tailor it with a genuine comment about where you came across them and what you like about their views on a topic. Once connected, message them with your genuine reason of wanting to pick their brains about their job and business and ask for half an hour of their time. If you can, ring them to arrange it so you get to speak with them first – it helps to build rapport. You’ll be amazed how flattered people are!
  6. Follow them on Twitter and engage first on relevant topics. Share interesting content with them. When you sense a relationship building, send them a Direct Message (if they follow you back) to ask for their email address or a mobile number to see if they are open to meeting.
  7. Go to events in your area run by local groups, universities and networking groups. Search for them on Eventbrite, via online search engines and by talking to people you know in the fields that interest you.

How prepared are you to invest your time and energy differently to take control of your job and career search?

Come back next week for 11 top questions you can ask when you have set up your face-to-face meeting as part of your job and career research.